Queensland University Medicine Interview Tips
Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists
This article aims to discuss some of the different multiple-mini interview (MMI) scenarios that you may encounter during your Queensland University medicine interview. The scenarios are designed to assess the applicant’s non-academic qualities, including empathy, integrity, adaptability, and verbal communication skills.
Scenario type 1 – Ethical-dilemma scenarios
Ethical-dilemma scenarios are one of the most common types of MMI questions that you will encounter during your Queensland University medicine interview. These questions can be difficult because they appear to lack a single correct answer. However, it is important to recognize that the interviewer is not testing you on your ability to provide a correct answer. Rather, they are trying to assess how you arrived at your final answer.
The most important tip for answering these types of questions is to prepare yourself ahead of time. Read online articles or relevant books that provide an overview of the different ethical principles that all physicians adhere to and consult before making difficult decisions. Once you are familiar with these principles, you can make use of them to justify the decisions that you make as you work through a scenario. These ethical principles include:
- Autonomy – an individual’s right to self-determination
- Beneficence – taking actions that serve the best interests of patients and their families
- Non-maleficence – ‘do no harm’ to patients and their families
- Justice – unbiased distribution of health sources
To answer these questions, start by collecting as much information as you possibly can. Oftentimes, the scenario promptswill lead you to towards making snap judgements about the situation and/or a person. You should resist these temptations and vocalize that you do not want to make unfair assumptions until you have validated the information provided in the prompt yourself.This can be accomplished by talking directly to the individualsinvolved in the scenario and asking relevant questions in a private (confidential) and safe setting. You can also make use of online resources to help you become more informed. Note that the interviewer will not provide further information regarding the prompt or answer your questions. The goal is to demonstrate your willingness to become informed and learn the facts before taking any action. Once you have taken the time to collect as much information as possible, you can go ahead and begin to consider the different possibilities that may be true and what steps you will take accordingly. These statements can be framed as if and then statements, where ‘if … is true, then I will respond accordingly with …’.
For some scenarios, you will be able to take direct action yourself in order to resolve the scenario. In other cases, you may need to guide individuals in the scenario to seek help from someone that may be more qualified, such as senior colleagues, human resources, or any other relevant expert. After going through all the possibilities of the scenario, you should also provide information on how similar situations may be prevented in the future.
These prompts may have some follow up questions. For instance, they may directly ask for your opinion on the importance of ethical principles, such as patient confidentiality and informed consent. Other types of follow-up questions may be regarding conflict resolution – what factors should be considered when resolving a conflict? It is okay to have some overlap between your answers to the initial prompt and the subsequent follow-up questions.
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Scenario type 2 – Policy and healthcare issue questions
Policy questions ask about your opinion regarding important healthcare policies and the consequences of their implementation. Healthcare issue questions, on the other hand, ask about your perspective on important issues pertaining to medicine and health. For example, healthcare inequity amongst Australia’s indigenous population is a very important topic that is almost always asked about during medicine interviews. These questions can be challenging because they appear to require previous knowledge about the given topic. However, this is not necessarily true – the goal of these questions is not to test how much you know about a given topic. Rather, the purpose is to assess your critical thinking skills – can you discuss the potential pros and cons for each policy, or can you discuss the different factors surrounding healthcare issues?
The way to answer these questions is not to ridicule one point of view, but rather to consider each side and show understanding and compassion. Therefore, start your answer by clearly defining the policy or healthcare issue of interest. Next, consider both sides and think about why individuals may lean one way or the other. More specifically, why someone may agree or disagree with the implementation of a policy, or why someone may have different opinions regarding a healthcare issue. After considering all different perspectives, then you can highlight the one that makes most sense to you and why.The goal is not to show that you have the right answer; but rather, to demonstrate your ability to empathize and understand those that may disagree with you.
Scenario type 3 – Collaborative questions
These questions are designed to test how well you can work with others. In some of these questions you may have to act as a mediator between two parties at conflict. To answer these questions, you want to begin by diffusing the immediate situation, especially if it is volatile, and suggest to re-visit the issue later. The rest of the answer structure is like addressing ethical-dilemma scenario questions. Specifically, begin by having private conversations with all parties involved to get a bit more context – it is possible that there are other underlying issues that may need to be addressed as well. Depending on the information you collect, you can go ahead and come up with an appropriate plan of action. Once again, making use of ‘if and then’ statements can be incredibly useful for responding to these scenarios. In some cases, you may be able to come to a reasonable compromise that satisfies both parties. In other cases, you may have to encourage one or both parties to seek help from a relevant senior authority such as a senior doctor, human resources, course coordinator, manager, or any other relevant expert.
These stations may also have follow-up questions that ask you to reflect on the importance of teamwork in a healthcare setting and the different components that allow for effective collaboration. Before your interview, take the time to come up with appropriate answers to these follow-up questions.
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